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The Chicago Bulls Should Have Fired John Paxson, Not Vinny Del Negro....

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Rock Mamola

Producer/Host on WSCR 670AM The Score.

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Yesterday while watching the Gar Forman press conference to announce the firing of Vinny Del Negro, something struck me in the middle of the presser that I simply cannot find a direct answer for.  While General Manager Forman was spewing the utter nonsense that GM's all around sports master, a simple question arose from the clutter and utter normal nonsense of a Bulls press conference.
 
Did the Bulls fire the wrong person yesterday? 

Should Vinny have stayed and John Paxson have been let go? 

This question on it's surface may seem out of the realm of possibility because the firing of Vinny Del Negro was fact from the day after the Bulls hired him.  However what has John Paxson done to deserve the right to keep his position on the Bulls front office directory?  Granted John Paxson will never be known as one of the many General Managers of the Chicago Bulls, but for one shot in 1993 which sent the Chicago Bulls to their third consecutive title.
 
John Paxson did a lot in his six seasons as General Manager of the Chicago Bulls before stepping down last February.  Among the many accomplishments include the drafting of Kirk Hinrich, Joakim Noah, and Derrick Rose.  Paxson also was key to the Bulls hiring Scott Skiles who led the franchise to three consecutive playoff appearances which had not been done since the days of Jordan, Pippen, and Rodman.   
 
With the successes of Paxson also come a lot of ( in hindsight) mistakes.  Trading LaMarcus Aldridge and acquiring Tyrus Thomas in 2006 would be one of those.  Toss in the signing of Ben Wallace, and names like Larry Hughes, Eddy Curry and Tyson Chandler and the scars start to overshadow the light of accomplishment.   
 
This past season was the first full season where John Paxson served in his new role of Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations for the Bulls.  In this role Paxson will only be remembered for one thing, getting into a scuffle with the same head coach he hired two years prior.  This incident was made public weeks after the matter happened, however it made national headlines and put a black eye on an exciting run into the playoffs for the Chicago Bulls.
 
The obvious goal of the franchise is to lure in a top name free agent(s) to join the Bulls and get this organization back to a level of competition it once knew in the 1990's.  These top name free agents could be anyone from LeBron James to Dirk Nowitzki to Joe Johnson to Chris Bosh.  The key is to get someone here to play along side the future of the franchise Derrick Rose and develop what could become a great 1-2 punch in the Eastern Conference.
 
While it can be debated exactly what brings players to certain organizations (besides money), why exactly did they fire Vinny Del Negro

Gar Forman said:
 
''The question will be: Are we better than we were two years ago? Yes, we are. And for that, we want to thank Vinny for all the efforts that he brought to this team and this organization."
 
Even later in the day Paxson gave his own praise as well to the now defunct head coach:
 
"Sure, we were taking a chance. But he did a lot of really good things for us. And we did make the playoffs two years in a row. Vinny didn't fail. And I don't think we did either."
 
So by those two quotes alone the hiring of Vinny Del Negro came with success after the entire media shunned the hiring from the get-go.  The Bulls were a better team now than when they hired Vinny, and according to the Executive VP the Bulls fired a head coach who did not fail at his job.   
 
Does this make sense? 

If you are Chris Bosh, LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, Joe Johnson.....aren't you scratching your head at an organization that hires a head coach with no experience that gets them to the postseason in the two years under Del Negro's tenure as head coach?
 
The real problem with the Chicago Bulls is the unstable nature of the front office, and that is not only a direct shot at Gar Forman but also John Paxson and Jerry Reinsdorf.  When you have a nationally publicized incident which involves rough behavior among the front office and the head coach and yet there is no discipline for the parties involved, that screams instability.  Sports cannot be compared to an everyday 9-5 job, but imagine if your boss comes to your cubicle and shouts, grabs your tie, and gets a little physical with you....isn't there some sort of discipline enforced?  
 
The Bulls will never match the dominance they once had in the 1990's and I believe that is what is fueling this unstable front office from making the correct basketball decisions for the future of the franchise.  The firing of Vinny Del Negro and the extension on John Paxson's tenure (allowing him to stay) is just the latest example of the inner circle of Jerry Reinsdorf

A team that is desperate for change doesn't get rid of successful people, and that is exactly what the Bulls did wrong yesterday.  Condemning success while rewarding foolishness gets this team no where in the overall goal of the franchise.
 
Did Vinny Del Negro deserve his walking papers...no.   
 
Does John Paxson deserve his....yes.   
 
Then again sports is like no other business, why should yesterday make any sense to begin with?
 
-RoCk
 
Rock Mamola is the Associate Producer of The Mully And Hanley Morning Show and co-host of The Joe O And Rock Show on WSCR 670AM The Score
 
You can follow The Mully And Hanley Morning Show at twitter.com/mullyhanley
 
You can follow The Joe O And Rock Show at twitter.com/joeoandrockshow

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4 Comments

ToddAF said:

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Do a little research, Rock. Jerry Krause was the one who drafted Eddy Curry and Tyson Chandler. Pax was still a broadcaster in 2001, when Curry and Chandler were drafted.

Rock Mamola said:

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I didn't state that Paxson drafted Curry or Chandler, I simply mentioned them in the same breath as they were Bulls busts under Paxson's watch.

He did a sign and trade to get rid of Curry in 2005 (2 seasons under Pax's reign) Tyson Chandler was re-signed by Paxson in 2005 and then was traded later.

-RoCk

Aaron Lowe said:

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Firing VDN is a colossal mistake by the Bulls. It was a colossal mistake to hire him, but if you hire someone and keep them for two years and they help the team make the playoffs twice, it's your duty to continue to help them turn into a decent, good, or great coach and shape a great team. Instead, the Bulls will have axed VDN and will compound the colossal mistakes of hiring him without any experience and dumping him prematurely by brining in some tried-and-true failure retread.

http://ChicagoNow.com/thelowedown

Rock Mamola said:

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Shameless plug....but I allow those unlike other blogs on this site.

Again, I stated the question did the Bulls fire the wrong guy, maybe the best thing to do was clean house to begin with and start over.

-RoCk

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